BNA Rewards Science at the Babraham Institute

Dr William Davies
© Babraham Institute

William is currently a post-doctoral research scientist in the Laboratory of Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience at the Babraham Institute. Judges from the BNA Committee considered the PhD project and thesis of Dr William Davies to be the finest, from applications covering a range of neuroscience topics.

Dr Yvonne Allen, Executive Director of the BNA, said, "There is always fierce competition for the BNA Postgraduate award; the standard of science is impressively high. William impressed us with his clarity of style and his promising publication record. He is also clearly very enthusiastic to present his work at as many prestigious conferences as possible.”

William's thesis describes how he obtained evidence for the existence of imprinted genes on the X chromosome that specifically affect a particular aspect of behaviour. Imprinted genes are special, chemically marked genes that help distinguish whether the gene came from the father or the mother, and whether or not it should be used in the offspring. The X chromosome is loaded with genes that are essential for brain and behavioural functioning.

”William's findings are important because imprinted genes have been implicated in common mental disorders such as autism. Greater knowledge of these genes may therefore help us to understand and eventually treat such disorders,” stated Dr Lawrence Wilkinson, William's PhD supervisor.

"Additionally, locating imprinted genes on the X chromosome may provide new insights into why men and women behave differently, and why they show different vulnerabilities to certain mental problems.” Dr Wilkinson continued.

Dr Richard Dyer, Director of the Institute, said, "I am delighted that the BNA has recognised the significance of William's work. The award is testament to the hard work put in by William and the quality of the training environment provided by the Babraham Institute for young scientists.”; Source: Babraham Institute